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The Jerusalem Passion an Eschatology in Song


									        The Jerusalem Passion - an
           Eschatology in Song
              “Christ Your passion                               be further formed to participate with
             Has become our passion                              Christ in the trials, triumphs and glories
                 Unto perfection,                                of His second coming.
             Through Your provision.
               Christ Your passion                                  The lyrics above are taken from what is
             Has become our passion,                             possibly the signature tune of the whole
             And in deep repentance,                             oratorio, “Christ Your Passion”.
              We renew our vision.
             Come and make us one,
             Come and make us one,                                             An Eschatology
                 Make us one.”
                                                                     The dictionary defines the word
                                                                 “eschatology” as “a branch of theology
                 Introduction                                    concerned with the final events in the
                                                                 history of the world or of mankind.4 It also
   The “Jerusalem Passion” oratorio                              comments on the diversity of beliefs that
heralds a call to Christian unity. Its                           exist over the events and timing of the end
setting is the two Jerusalems – the                              of the world - “specif: any of various
earthly Jerusalem and the new                                    Christian doctrines concerning the Second
Jerusalem. These two cities illustrate                           Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the
the two passions of Christ – the earthly                         dead, the Last Judgment, or the nature of
Jerusalem, the place of the passion of                           human existence upon the completion of
His death, and the new Jerusalem, His                            history”.
heart’s passion for restoring and
                                                                    The specific songs of the oratorio that
perfecting the only true Body of Christ,
                                                                 Scripturally deal with end time matters are
the Church of the Living God.
                                                                 “The Overture”, ”Where are the Eagles?”
                                                                 “Jerusalem Come Down”, and the verses of
   The lyrics of the call, while poetic in                       “They Shall be One”.
form, are singularly biblical in context1.
                                                                    The lyrics for “Where are the Eagles?”
   The message of the call is that the                           were inspired from Christ’s discourse in
present day Church, while deeply in                              Matthew 24 which arose after His disciples
need of restoration to the apostles’                             asked “Tell us, when will these things be?
doctrine,2 manner of life and                                    And what will be the sign of Your coming,
administration3 will find restoration and                        and of the end of the age?”5 The song also
                                                                 draws from Revelation 4 and 5 when it cites
  In the programme that accompanied the early performances
of the “Jerusalem Passion” the words of the songs are                “There’s and Eagle, there’s a Man,
accompanied with the verses from scripture that inspired
them. Ninety nine Bible references are given.                         There’s a Lion, there’s a Lamb,
    Acts 2:42.                                                         There’s a Body gathered here,
  As the Body of Christ expanded in the days of the early
                                                                             But where, Lord?
church, the apostles inaugurated an administration under                  Where are the eagles?”
their oversight to maintain a network of relationships from
one locality to another. This administration first of all
involved the seven who were appointed in Jerusalem (Ac 6:1-
7), then other “ascension gift” apostles and missionaries (Eph
4:7-16), and later elders, in the huge task of maintaining the   4
                                                                     Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
Body as one fellowship of the Son on earth (1Co 1:9; 2Co
8:20).                                                               Mt 24:3
                              The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song Ray Jackson
                     Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

   The lyrics for “Jerusalem Come Down”                events in Christ’s coming, these events call
poetically incorporate five passages from              for an immediate readiness. Christ’s voice,
the Book of Revelation each of which is                like a trumpet blast, calls His Church to
sung as a plea for their fulfilment to be              overcome in its present state of rejection,
realised.                                              division and apostasy. Before taking a
                                                       detailed look at the significance of
        “Come and tabernacle with us6                  Revelation 2 and 3, consider these thoughts
     Spread Your mighty wings upon us,7                about the book of Revelation as a whole.
            Drive away every fear,
             Dry away every tear.8
      Come thou bride of heaven down,
    And feed us with Your bread of heaven,9                     The Revelation
     City of history, finish thy mystery”10                     of Jesus Christ
   In the verses from ”They Shall be One”                 Greek was the language of the day when
these references are made to events                    John recorded visions and scenes he
recorded in the book of Revelation.                    experienced concerning the end of the
                                                       world. These writings became the book of
        “Every tribe and every kindred                 Revelation. This book was included in the
            and tongue shall come,                     Canon of Scripture, and although it was not
           And they shall be one.11                    the last to be written, it has rightfully been
           Out of great tribulation,                   placed at the end of the Bible.
               They shall come
        And shall be one in My name”12                     The word translated into English as
                                                       “Revelation”     is   the    Greek     word
   The song that is the theme of this paper,           “apocalypse”. It is used in Greek literature
however, is “The Overture”. Here in the                to express an unveiling, manifestation, or
opening words of the first song of the                 disclosure. Some would have become
“Jerusalem Passion” the attention focuses              acquainted with this word in recent years
on chapters 1-3 of the book of Revelation,             through Francis Coppola’s award-winning
where Christ’s Church is pictured as seven             movie, “Apocalypse Now”. This film was
lampstands, but with its lights greatly                named with the book of Revelation in mind
diminished due to lack of oil and blackened            as the movie deals with the horror,
wicks.                                                 atrocities and hopelessness of the Vietnam
                                                       War - a theme which seems similar to what
         “He that hath an ear to hear                  John saw and recorded.
                  let him hear
           What the Spirit’s saying                       As the title of the last book of the Bible,
               to the Churches,                        the importance of the word “apocalypse” is
            Listen to the trumpet,                     twofold. Firstly and primarily, it expresses
         Listen to the trumpet sound.                  the book’s task of unveiling the Second
           Hearken to the trumpet,                     Coming of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, in
        Hearken to the trumpet sound.”                 power and majesty. Secondly it discloses
                                                       the woes, sorrows, and defeat this Coming
      While the other passages refer to future         will bring to those who reject, or oppose it.

  Rev 21:3.
  Rev 7:15.
  Rev 7:17.
                                                              The Christ of Glory
  Rev 7:16, 17.
   Rev 10:7; 12:1.                                        The complete title of the last book of the
   Rev 7:9.
   Rev 7:14.                                           Bible is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”.
2                                   The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson
                 Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

This adequately describes its content, for                   True Witness, the First Begotten from
throughout its pages Jesus Christ is                         the Dead, the Messenger (angel) with
revealed in many different forms and                         the Seal of the Living God, etc.;
attributes, all of which portray various
aspects     of   His   Second    Coming.
Furthermore, the Second Coming of Christ                              The Whole Truth
as portrayed in the book of Revelation,
brings to our attention a very different                To understand the full significance of
impression of Christ than does His First             these final unveilings of Christ, we need to
Coming. The Christ of the four Gospels               appreciate the theme of the Bible as a
came:                                                whole. Briefly put, the Bible is a
                                                     manuscript from God outlining His purpose
n as an embryo within a virgin’s womb;               for creating the heavens and the earth and
n as a babe in a manger;                             their inhabitants - angels and man. It is also
n as a carpenter’s son in Nazareth;                  a record of the opposition to His purpose
n as a disciple of John the Baptist;                 from fallen angels (including Satan, or
n as a servant of God among the people               Lucifer) and fallen mankind.
  of Israel;
n as a prophet in His Father’s house;                   The first five books of the Bible, and
n as a sacrificial Lamb upon the Cross;              notably the book of Genesis, contain the
n as the Saviour of the world through His            seeds of the many themes which are later
  death,     burial,   resurrection   and            consummated in the book of “Revelation”.
  ascension.                                         The historical, poetic and prophetic books
                                                     of the Old Testament develop these themes
    In the “Revelation”, God wants us to             through     typology,15    shadows16     and
know His Son beyond the Christ of history            prophecy. In the New Testament, the
- now as the coming Lord of Glory; no                Apostles declare the same themes, but “in
longer Christ “according to the flesh”,13            spirit and in truth”,17 as they relate to the
but “according to the power of an endless            Christian Church.
life”.14 Thus, the Christ of “Revelation” is
unveiled:                                                The “Revelation” is the final chapter of
                                                     this ongoing story showing the glory of
n as the Great High Priest coming to                 God’s purpose fulfilled and His final
     judge the world with His Church;                triumph over all opposition.
n as the Lion/Lamb in the midst of the
     throne of God, worthy and able to
     minister the full inheritance to His                        Where are we now?
n    as the Mighty Warrior, riding forth to
                                                        The most dramatic chapters in the
     conquer every foe;
                                                     “Revelation” are those which describe what
n    as the Bridegroom receiving and
                                                     takes place in the opening of the seven seals
     rejoicing with His Bride;
n    as the King of Kings overcoming the             15
                                                         “A hermeneutical concept in which a Biblical place
     ten kings of the Antichrist reign;              (Jerusalem, Zion), person (Adam, Melchizedek), event
n    as the Lord of the Harvest, reaping the         (flood, brazen serpent), institution (feasts, covenant),office
                                                     (prophet, priest, king), or object (tabernacle, altar, incense)
     earth of its tares and wheat;                   becomes a pattern by which later persons or places are
n    as the Alpha and Omega, the Root and            interpreted due to the unity of events within salvation-
                                                     history” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
     Offspring of David, the Faithful and            P.930
                                                          See: Col 2:16,17; Heb 8:5, 10:1.
   2Co 5:16.
14                                                   17
   Heb 7:16.                                              John 4:23
     The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson                                                  3
                 Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

(chapter 6-), the blowing of the seven               initiate “a time of trouble such as never
trumpets (chapter 8-), and the pouring forth         was” (Dan 12:1-4).
of the seven last plagues of God’s wrath
(chapter 15-). It is usually from these                 This scene further declares that there is
chapters that many seek to interpret past            a fellowship in prayer (golden bowl of
and present events.                                  incense) and the experiences of faith (harps
                                                     and new song) that transcends time, life and
    The speculations are endless, and some           death and which, through the actions of the
are quite imaginative. It is apparent that not       Lion/Lamb brings to pass the hope of every
only have film makers interpreted the events         creature who died or lives in the faith of
of history in the light of John’s vision, but        Christ’s accomplished redemption.
so too have the theologians of many
generations. Indeed the numerous disasters               This scene is similar to Hebrews 11
of history, as well as the spiritual revivals,       where the realisation of the faith of
have all to some degree appeared to be a             believers of the old dispensation is said to
fulfilment of events described in the                be in the faithfulness of a future generation
“Revelation”. However, the particular                “and all these having obtained a good
emphasis of the Spirit of God in this present        testimony through faith did not receive the
hour is the message to the Church contained          promise, God having provided some better
in chapters 2 and 3 of the “Revelation”.             thing for us that they should not be made
This is more vital and relevant to us today          perfect apart from us” (vv. 39, 40). In
than the interpretation of apocalyptic events        Rev. 5 these saints who died “in faith” are
and signs that so often preoccupy the                the “great cloud of witnesses” of Hebrews
attention of people everywhere. In these             11 and 12. They are in His presence in
chapters we see a picture of the Lord                Heaven with the alive “living in faith
correcting the whole Church to restore her           saints” who are in His presence in heavenly
and her leadership to true glory and                 places together beholding the Lamb
accountability.                                      standing to take the book of full
    At this present time, the Spirit is also
giving us an inspired glimpse of chapters 4
and 5 which show the Church restored as                            A Glorious Church?
the light of the world, abiding in heavenly
places, united in divine order, and able to              In Revelation chapter 1, the first
go forth bringing God’s will to perfection           unveiling of Christ is of Him standing in the
“on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). For        midst of His glorious Church, symbolically
some the interpretation of Rev 4 and 5 is            portrayed as the Lampstand of the Old
thought to be a picture of the saints in             Testament Tabernacle, which was made of
heaven. It would seem, however, that the             one beaten piece of pure gold.18 It is quite
sealed book being open marks the specific            likely that the various descriptions of His
commencement of the time of the end, for             attributes and apparel depict His priestly
this book which results in the final triumphs        authority (garments), His preparedness
of the Lamb being accomplished in the                (girdle), His holiness (hair), and glory
earth was “sealed until the time of the end”         (face), His intent to expose (eyes), judge
(Daniel 12:9). In these chapters, Christ is          (feet), shake (voice), and divide asunder
setting in motion the final actions that bring       (two-edged sword). The leadership of His
to pass the full inheritance of the saints           Church is portrayed as the seven stars, or
described in Ephesians 1:13,14 as the                messengers, firmly held in His right hand.19
“redemption         of     the     purchased
possession”. Daniel calls this occasion,             18
                                                          Ex 25:36.
“the time of the end” , declaring it will            19
                                                          Rev 1:13-16.
4                                 The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson
                        Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

                                                                  Acts 3:19-21, “Repent therefore and be
    The importance of this is to declare the                      converted, that your sins may be blotted
priority of the Church in relation to Christ’s                    out, so that times of refreshing may come
Second Coming, in particular, His intention                       from the presence of the Lord, and that He
to restore and perfect the Church, and then                       may send Jesus Christ, who was preached
to judge His enemies by and through the                           to you before, whom heaven and earth
Church.                                                           must receive until the times of restoration
                                                                  of all things, which God has spoken by the
    The picture of the Church given in                            mouth of all His holy prophets since the
Chapters 2 and 3, however, is vastly                              world began.”21
different! In these verses His Church is
anything but pure, anything but “one piece                            The Joel verse seems to be applicable to
of gold”. On the contrary, it is divided and                      the Church in the time of the end for
gripped by “the depths of Satan” (2:24)                           although Peter quoted from Joel to describe
(false doctrine, immorality, even apostasy)                       the events on the day of Pentecost, much
with a leadership that has fallen from the                        more was to occur for the prophecy to be
position of “His right hand” (1:20).                              fully realised.22 The verses from Acts leave
    Apostasy happens so subtly and silently                       no doubt as to the time of full restoration
that often it is hard to accept that we are a                     being prior to Christ’s return for the
party to it. According to Rev. 2:1-5, it                          heavens are holding Him back until all is
begins with the context of the leaving of                         restored that the prophets declared.
first love, which the context indicates is a
relational departure (from Christ and from
each other) before it is ever doctrinal (“You                                    Judgment Begins
have tested those who say they are
apostles”) or moral (“You cannot bear                                 Revelation chapters one and two
those who are evil”).20 However, the                              indeed describe the beginning of Christ’s
leaving of first love in the first Church was                     revelation, of His “apocalypse”, of His
soon followed by the leaving of the true                          Second Coming. But it is not quite what
doctrine, and the true lifestyle of Christ in
                                                                  we expected! Yes, eventually He will
the subsequent Churches. The clear call
                                                                  “descend from heaven with a shout” to
throughout Christ’s brief letters to the seven
                                                                  meet His people (1Th 4:15-18), but here,
Churches is that the Church and its
                                                                  in this first aspect of His coming, His
leadership is in need of restoration.
                                                                  attributes which were to deal with the
                                                                  sinfulness of the world, have become
   The message of restoration is not unique
to the book of Revelation. It is a subject
                                                                  attributes which deal with the worldliness
that is mentioned often in both the Old and                       of His Church, and so judgment begins
New Testaments. For example, Joel 2:25,                           “at the house of God”.23
“So I will restore to you the years that the
swarming locust       has eaten, and the                          21
                                                                      The meaning of restoration in the OT is to restore back
crawling locust, the consuming locust, and                        something stolen or owed, to set again. In NT times the
the chewing locust…”, and from the NT,                            Greeks, when using restoration as a medical term, understood
                                                                  it to mean “complete restoration of health; the restoring to its
                                                                  place of a dislocated joint” (Word Studies in the New
                                                                  Testament, Vincent, P231).
     The troubles that developed between Paul and the
churches he established usually came out of relational               There is a number of times in Scripture where prophecies
difficulties. Even the major problem of not accepting his         were partially fulfilled and then had a greater fulfilment years
apostleship was more in reaction to his personality and ways      later. One of note is the sending of Elijah in the great and
or disappointments at his departures and intensity rather than    terrible day of the Lord (Mal 4:5). This prophecy was
a rejection of his message. However, as the letters to Galatia,   partially fulfilled in the coming of John the Baptist (Luke
Corinth, and Timothy record, the doctrinal breakdown              1:17), but its full import is yet to be realised in the second
quickly followed.                                                 coming of Christ.
                                                                     1Peter 4:17.
     The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson                                                                5
                 Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

    In particular, the revelation of Christ’s        would have taken some of the
judgment begins with the leaders (called the         leadership at Ephesus back to two
“seven stars”, or “angels” of the                    occasions in their history. The first
Churches. [Rev 1:20;2:1]). These are the             would have been when Paul called the
ones whom God holds accountable for the              elders of Ephesus together to Miletus
fallen state of His Church. In recent years,
                                                     for a final address in which he shared
the reality of this judgment has become a
                                                     with them the discourse recorded in
media spectacle. Television programs and
newspaper reports have openly disclosed
                                                     Acts 20:17-38, and the second when
Church scandals which expose the                     Paul left Timothy among them with the
decadence,          self-indulgence       and        direction to “charge some that they
independence of Church leaders. This is but          teach no other doctrine”.24
the beginning of the anger of the Lord,
designed to arrest the fallen condition of the          The     Ephesian     elders    would
Church so that He may restore her to be a            remember Paul’s departing words from
glorious Church, ready for His Second                Asia as a sad time, but would later
Coming.                                              remember a perilous time when his
                                                     words were fulfilled. In the first
    Christ’s judgment is harsh and                   instance they wept at the loss of Paul’s
impartial, but it is not without hope and            presence; in the latter at the loss of
mercy. His intention is not the destruction          God’s. The seriousness of these times
of those who are found fallen, but rather
                                                     must have been in their reflections too -
their deliverance. We read of “stars” who
                                                     In Acts 20 because of the charge Paul
do fall without hope (Rev 8:10; 9:1; 12:4),
but the fallen ones in these early chapters
                                                     was giving them and in Timothy
are given a chance to remember from where            because of the charge being made
they have fallen and to “repent and do               against them.
again the first works” (Rev 2:5). Christ’s
purpose in exposing things within His                   The “weeping of Paul” and the
Church is not for evil, but for good. Those          “charge to Timothy” are the two
who have been “lording it over” God’s                headings under which much can be
people must humble themselves among the              learned as to the true state of unity God
body of believers. Those who have become             desires for His Church and its
“hirelings” must again become “true                  leadership, and the true life style He
shepherds” who serve the flock of God                requires of its leaders and members. We
“from a pure heart, from a good                      will also comment on the prophetic
conscience, and from unhypocritical
                                                     declaration of these events and their
faith”(1Tim 1:5)
                                                     relevance to the present day Church.
    The Church needs her leadership as
never before, but this leadership is required
by Christ to be morally, theologically and                            Remember the
relationally sound.                                                   Weeping of Paul

                                                        “Therefore watch, and remember
                                                     that for three years I did not cease to
            Remember                                 warn everyone night and day with
                                                     tears” (Acts 20:31).
   It seems likely that Christ’s call for
the leaders and the Church to
“remember” from where they had fallen                24
                                                          1Tim 1:3.
6                                 The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson
                      Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

   Paul’s discourse in Acts 20 has                            likely Paul was alluding to this when he
fascinated many commentators on the                           said, “I am innocent of the blood of all
book of Acts. This is because its                             men”, for he was in effect washing his
content seems out of place in a book                          hands of the guilt of the many innocent
that is primarily a narrative. It would                       he foresaw would be slain because the
appear, as is the case in the epistles,                       Ephesian elders would not take
that there is a word for the Christian                        seriously his warning that they “Take
Church throughout the ages to the                             heed to themselves and to the flock”.
present day, in what Paul says.
                                                                 There is something more that needs
   Paul lived among the Church                                to be considered in Paul’s three years of
members and leadership of Ephesus for                         weeping. Was he prophetically seeing
three years, and wept every night and                         down through the years to the present
every day.25 He wept as he warned the                         state of the flock of God? We are
elders that savage wolves would come                          certainly scattered, divided and broken.
in among them “not sparing the                                Savage wolves have roamed freely
flock”26, and furthermore, that some of                       scattering the flock, and many leaders
the elders, by speaking perverse things,                      continue to draw away to themselves,
would draw disciples away from the                            jealously guarding their own positions
counsel of God to themselves, and in so                       and authority, often more interested in
doing innocent ones would be slain.27                         position than togetherness, in acclaim
                                                              than function and in being acquainted
    In Deuteronomy 21 there is a                              than related. We are more able to unite
ceremony described which was required                         against things God hates than to unite
when anyone was found slain and their                         for very long in what He loves.
killer was not known. The elders of the
city nearest to where the deceased was                           Whether Paul was weeping for our
found were to take a heifer to a valley                       day or not, the same state exists as that
flowing with water and their break the                        which he saw would befall the Church
animal’s neck and wash their hands                            at Ephesus. If this is so, does it not
over it, saying, “Our hands have not                          follow that the same accountability will
shed this innocent blood”. It is quite                        be reckoned?

     Acts 20:31.
                                                                 The context of Paul’s statement in
                                                              v.28 (“therefore take heed to
     Acts 20:29.
                                                              yourselves”), not only takes us back to
    It is disconcerting to some that Paul not only knew       v.26 (“I am innocent of the blood of all
that the deeds of the wolves and the erring elders would
happen, but he knew for three years. Surely in so much        men”), but it also takes us forward to
time the capacity of his ministry could have stopped          his admonition to (“Shepherd the flock
this! The issue, however, is one of accountability. Paul,
in the capacity of his ministry, let what he foresaw          of God which he has purchased with his
happen, and then once it did, addressed the problem,          own blood”) The warning of
which seems to be the purpose of the letters to Timothy.
At Miletus Paul was pointing out that the guilt for those
                                                              accountability is clear; the hands of any
innocent would not be on his hands, but on those of the       elders who draw away the flock to
elders. By asserting his innocence he was not avoiding
responsibility, but rather, declaring that he had fulfilled
                                                              themselves are guilty of the body and
it. He goes on to show that the elders would be innocent      the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
too, if they would take heed and fulfil their
responsibility. Paul implies strongly that his part was to
declare the whole counsel of God and their part was to
shepherd the flock of God wholly in it.
        The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson                                  7
                       Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

     Remember the Charge of Timothy                            n “in latter times some leaders will
                                                                 depart from the faith giving heed to
   “Remain in Ephesus that you may                               seducing spirits…” (4:1)
charge some that they teach no other                           n “Some leaders’ sins are clearly
doctrine, nor give heed to fables and                            evident.. some follow later” (5:24)
endless genealogies, which cause                               n “For the love of money… some
disputes rather than godly edification                           leaders have strayed from the faith”
which is in the faith” (1Tim 1:3,4).                             (6:10)
                                                               n “By professing … falsely called
   The letters to Timothy, with the                              knowledge, some leaders have
epistle to Titus, are commonly called                            strayed concerning the faith” (6:21)
the “Pastoral Epistles”. They seem
rightly placed in our Bibles, and in the
sequence of time between Acts 20 and                                       Wolves and Hirelings
Rev 2. What is recorded in them is the
sad account of how true the last words                            There are two kinds of fallen elders
of Paul to the Ephesian elders proved to                       that Paul warned against and who are
be, for indeed “savage wolves” had                             being addressed in 1 Timothy. There
come in among the elders and certain of                        were those who had become wolves
the elders were speaking “perverse                             and those who were about to do so
things” to draw away disciples after                           because they were hirelings.
themselves. They also indicate how
quickly his predictions of apostasy came                          Wolves and hirelings have a very
to pass.28 These writings not only                             worrying similarity - neither cares about
record the fallen state of some leaders,                       the sheep, or rather, they are more
but also how to address this problem,                          concerned about themselves at the
and what qualifications are required that                      expense of the sheep. Paul urges
leadership might be respected again and                        Timothy in the responsibility and
the Church might again be the pillar and                       capacity of his charge to prevent the
ground of all that is true.                                    hirelings from becoming wolves, while
                                                               in the authority of his own calling he
   To magnify how serious the charge                           acted to expose the wolves.
to Timothy was, it is quite likely that
the word “leader” could be added                                  As the wolves among the Ephesian
wherever the word “some” is used in                            elders were the first concern, they are
Paul’s first letter to him.                                    the first named - “Hymenaeus and
                                                               Alexander”.29 Remarkably for 1
n “Charge some leaders that they                               Timothy, the wolves are the only ones
  teach no other doctrine” (1:3)                               named, whereas the hirelings are
n “From which some leaders … have                              referred to anonymously as “some
  turned aside to idle talk desiring to                        leaders”. By not naming the hirelings
  be teachers of the law” (1:6)                                Paul was making every room for them
n “Which some leaders having                                   to again become shepherds, while at the
  rejected have suffered shipwreck”                            time defending the scriptural procedures
  (1:19)                                                       should Timothy have to disqualify or
  The Miletus discourse was thought to have occurred
around 58 A.D., while First Timothy was considered to be       29
                                                                    1Tim 1:20.
written around 67 A.D.
8                                           The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson
                        Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

suspend them - “Do not receive an                                  Church, some who once claimed to be
accusation against an elder except                                 committed members are departing from
from two or three witnesses. Those who                             it, while others are proclaiming that an
are sinning rebuke before all”                                     elitist group or special company of
(5:19,20)                                                          believers are to be salvaged from it.

                                                                      Again we must stress that Christ’s
                                                                   judgements are not for the demise of
                     Conclusion                                    His Church, but for its restoration. He
                                                                   is not turning His people over to Satan
   Although Revelation chapters 2 and                              to be judged and overcome, but rather,
3 name seven Asian Churches to which                               He is removing everything that is in
the judgments and corrections of Christ                            common with Satan from out of the
are addressed, we need to read and                                 Church. His disciplinary actions declare
interpret these messages as the present                            just as strongly His love for the Church,
word of Christ to the universal Church                             for “whom He loves He chastens” (Rev
in the day in which we live. “He that                              3:19), as it does His faith in the Church
hath an ear, let him hear what the                                 of which He said “the gates of hell
Spirit is saying to the Churches!” (Rev                            shall not prevail against it” (Matt
2:7).30 As these judgments of Christ are                           16:18), and of which it is written that it
being experienced it is as though we                               is “the pillar and stay of all that is
have arrived at the weakest moment in                              true” (1Tim 3:15).31
the Church’s history. The Church is
impotent, having become a target for a                                 Later, in Revelation, chapter 4, we
variety of false responses from inside as                          see the Lampstand, symbolic of the
well as outside.                                                   Church, described as burning brightly
                                                                   before the throne (Rev 4:1-5). We
   From outside, many who are                                      conclude from this description that the
ignorant ridicule and mock the Church,                             Church has been restored to its true
while its outright enemies delight in its                          place and is ready to participate on
apparent destruction. From inside the                              centre-stage with Christ, the Lamb, in
                                                                   all that is to transpire in the remaining
   Numbers in Scripture have consistent meanings and are           chapters of the “Revelation”.
often used in certain settings to confirm what is recorded.
“There is a sacred significance in numbers, not cabalistic, not
fanciful, but proceeding from the very nature of things”.             The will of Christ, which has never
The following are a few statements from commentators on            changed, is to present His Church to
their interpretation of the number “seven”:
“The number seven is used throughout the apocalypse in a           Himself as a chaste bride,32 and to
symbolic sense and is admitted to be expressive of
completeness or perfection.”
                                                                   proclaim to the principalities and
“Seven is the number of dispensational fullness. It is the         powers in high places by His Church,
complete in that which is temporary, and not the finally
complete. It carries with it the idea of sacredness in that        the wisdom and power of His ways.33
which relates to this world, the Divine three and the worldly      The way in which this will be fulfilled is
four. Hence it is always connected with whatever touches the
covenant between man and God, worship and the coming               clearly recorded in the remaining
together of Creator and the creature.”                             chapters of the book of “Revelation”.
What then, are we to understand of the SEVEN lampstands?
Firstly, as the SEVEN spirits are the one Holy Spirit in all the   31
fullness and completion of His offices and powers in this             If Christ is dealing so severely with sin among His own
dispensation, so the SEVEN Churches are the one Holy               people, we could as well ask - how great will be the judgment
Catholic Church in all the amplitude and completeness of its       of those “who do not obey the gospel of God”, who persist in
being in history from the time of the vision to the end” (The      their wickedness (1Pet 4:17)?
Apocalypse, by J.A. Seiss. Lecture V Pp. 55-65.)                      Eph 5:25-27; Rev 21:2.
                                                                      Eph 3:10.
      The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson                                                             9
               Vision One Worship and Unity Seminar, Horsham, 27 March 1993

Read them, and then commit yourself to
God’s mighty purpose for His Church
in these last days of history. Beware of
the voice that says, “Christ is in the
desert” (out there somewhere), or,
“Christ is in the inner room” (of some
exclusive thought), for Christ is to be
found in the midst of His Church, “the
Church which is His Body” (Mat 24:26;
Eph 1:22,23).

                                                 Retyped Monday, 28 January, RA

10                            The Jerusalem Passion - an Eschatology in Song. Ray Jackson

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